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November 14, 1914

The Metchnikoff Theory

JAMA. 1914;LXIII(20):1779-1780. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02570200073031

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To the Editor:  —The theory, so ably supported by Metchnikoff, which ascribes to the leukocytes the function of picking up and destroying bacteria which find their way into the blood or tissues (phagocytosis) is now generally accepted as having been demonstrated by observation and experimental evidence.I have no desire to detract from the credit due to Metchnikoff in connection with this theory, but in justice to myself desire to call attention to the fact that this theory was suggested by me several years before the publication of Metchnikoff's first paper on the subject. In support of this statement, I quote from my book entitled "Bacteria," published in 1884 (William Wood & Co., New York), pp. 250 and 251:"If we add a small quantity of culture-fluid containing the bacteria of putrefaction to the blood of an animal, withdrawn from the circulation into a proper receptacle, and maintained in a

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